Tuesday, February 10, 2015

On Food

I consider myself a foodie.  I love food.  Now, I've had people point out that a lot of people love food, because it's necessary to our continued existence.

But let me make myself clear: I am obsessed with food.  I follow Instagram accounts that profess their love to foods over human beings.  Food is bae.  I find myself obsessing over everything from the micro-level chemical reactions that occur when cakes bake or meat caramelizes to the macro-level composition of meals surrounding which food ought to be paired with which wine, beer, or other beverage pairing.

I can point to a moment in my life when I started obsessing over food: about 10 o'clock one Friday night when I was about 13, when I realized that I could watch Unwrapped on the Food Network when I was staying at my dad's house.  And then when I realized I could watch the Food Network when I woke up Saturday morning.  Or that I could watch Iron Chef at 3 AM when I couldn't sleep.  Food was solace when I didn't know what else to do.

The day I found out how to make brownies from scratch was a day that my life changed forever.  I had done some minor baking in Home Ec. and had been making some breakfast foods for years, but the moment I discovered baking from scratch, I discovered my sanctuary.

Baking and cooking are a form of stress relief for me.  When I am deep in perfecting a recipe, nothing in the world can distract me or make me feel less-than.  Even when the finished product is not quite what I've expected, the lessons I learn in the process only serve to drive me to learn more.

There is a part of me that has thought, at multiple times throughout my college and graduate school career, that I ought to drop out and pursue culinary school.  I've been asked if I've ever considered opening a bakery or pursuing a career as a food critic -- the fact is, I've strongly considered both.

I worry sometimes that following my love of food into a career would turn a pastime and retreat into a task on my to-do list.  They say that if you find a career you love, you'll never work a day in your life.  But I love academics, and I still find days when I need the escape.  To have my escape taken away would be absolutely heartbreaking.

Deliciously yours,
Rachel Leigh

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